No Longer Alone

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The Syndra pushed into the Orianna. She conjured a Dark Sphere, dealing magic damage and forcing the Orianna further back. Then she grabbed a minion and lifted it up with her mind before throwing it down onto the Orianna. The Orianna was slowed. Her health was dropping. She tried to dodge and weave, anything to escape the Syndra. Then the Syndra cast Scatter the Weak. She knocked back a Dark Sphere that hit the Orianna, stunning her. The Syndra followed up with another Dark Sphere before casting her ultimate skill–Unleashed power! All the Dark Spheres on the ground and the three that floated around her bombarded the Orianna. And killed her.

《You have been slain!》

Yang Fan stared at his screen. The game was 9 minutes in. Tonji Aff. High’s Midlaner had just killed him. He’d tried to outplay her, and when that didn’t work, escape. But she’d killed him. His screen was grey. He took his glasses off and started cleaning them on his shirt, annoyed. He’d given away a solo kill. The one thing he shouldn’t have done, he did. I shouldn’t have gone that far out into lane. I should’ve backed sooner. I knew she had her ultimate. That was stupid of me. I could’ve evaded that whole situation. 

《An ally has been slain!》

Yang Fan was pulled out of his thoughts and looked to his side, where Tang Bingyao sat. She was biting on her lips and glowering at the screen. He hadn’t seen what’d happened, he’d been too busy in mid lane. “Uhh, Tang Bingyao?” he asked. She looked up at him, frustrated. He almost recoiled back in surprise, but didn’t. He continued, “What happened?”

“That stupid Elise came for a gank. I had so many Adoration stacks on my Draven. They’re all gone now. This is really annoying,” she replied, curt. Draven’s passive was called League of Draven. Whenever he caught a Spinning Axe or killed a minion, monster, or tower, he gained the Adoration of his fans. If he killed an enemy Champion, his stacks of Adoration would grant him a certain amount of bonus gold. But when he died, he would lose 75% of his stacks.

Tonji Aff. High killed High School 13’s Midlaner and ad-carry within seconds of each other. This left the Dragon uncontested. So they moved down into the river and killed the monster. It gave the team Gold and also a stack of Dragon Slayer which granted all players on the team bonus attack damage and ability power. The advantage High School 13 had built up was gone. Tonji Aff. High were right back into the game, as could be expected from last year’s semi finalists.

The players from High School 13 were all looking to Lin Feng for guidance. But he sat up in top lane, quiet. He was never quiet. He always had something to say with that big, goofy grin of his. They didn’t know what to think of it, so they did what they could and focused back on the game. As for Lin Feng, he wasn’t paying too much attention to his teammates. His focus was entirely on the game. If he wanted to solo carry on his Riven, he couldn’t make a single misplay.

Lin Feng was well aware that in normal circumstances, High School 13 was no match for Tonji Aff. High. The skill gap was just too big. Two weeks worth of bootcamping wasn’t nearly enough to do something about that. If he wanted to win this game, he had to do something special. That was why he was playing in top lane right now. However, the longer a game went on, the harder it became to make up for the lack of skill of his teammates. They could make one small mistake in late game, like getting caught out before a teamfight, and it would be game over. So it was pivotal that he got such an overwhelming advantage in the early to mid game that it never got to that.

If everything went according to plan, Lin Feng was 80% confident he could win this game with his Riven. The other 20% would be up to his teammates. They had to play to the absolute best of their abilities, and make sure they didn’t fall too far behind. Because just like he was getting fed off of Tonji Aff. High’s Toplaner, any one of their players could get fed off of one of High School 13’s players. That couldn’t happen. That would kill any hopes of winning this game. But Lin Feng didn’t worry about that. He trusted his teammates. They wouldn’t just give up. They would keep fighting and supporting him, so that he could carry them to a victory!

While the crowd in the Wembley Arena came back to life, the Chinese casters looked at their monitors, worried. Legend was turning the game back around. Demon got a kill and pulled himself back into the game thanks to it, after being starved in top lane by Roundy’s Riven. More worryingly, there was Phoenix. Emperor Phoenix. Phoenix had two kills, one assist, and 15 minion kills up on KG’s Xerath. The kills and assists aside, just the CS advantage showed a worrying trend. Xerath was a Champion that relied on farming. With his long range, he could poke the opponent out of lane and even farm when pushed under his own tower. Then there was Yasuo. A melee Champion known for a lot, but not his great ability to farm.

“It’s starting to look a lot more like the game we were expecting to see,” Qinghe said. He sighed and shook his head. “KG got off to such a great start too… I really thought they had a chance.”

Lolo looked defeated, with slumped shoulders and all. “I don’t see anything of KG’s lead left. The Riven is still kinda strong. But what’s that worth when you got a Sejuani to lock her down?”

“Lolo is right,” Stone agreed. He put on his analytical glasses and continued, “Legend has Sejuani and Yasuo who are both getting the farm and kills they need to scale to become big threats. Not to mention how well the two work together. Then there’s Demon on his Fiora. If he can get another kill somewhere, he should be able to at least hold Roundy’s Riven off. That alone will kill any hope KG has of winning this game.”

“This is the make-or-break moment for KG,” Qinghe said. He looked into the camera and continued, “I want our Chinese fans at home to not worry. This game isn’t lost yet. God Roundy is up three kills on his Riven. If he can snowball harder and carry the rest of his team on his back, then KG still has a shot. They can still win this game, though they’ll have to fight really hard for it.”

Lolo perked up a little. She smiled and said, “That’s right! The game isn’t over yet! KG can still win this! We can’t give up. We must not give up just yet!”

KG was losing the game to Legend. The power and determination from a few minutes ago was gone. KG’s voice chat was quiet. No one knew what to say. Tian Tian recalled back to base and looked at his teammates, worried. He wanted to say something to lift their spirits, but he couldn’t think of the words. Only a few minutes ago, they were all full of hope. Their excited mood had also helped him. He wanted that again. It’d felt good. He just didn’t know how to.

“Sorry, that was my bad. Shouldn’t have pushed the lane out that far,” Konjac said in the voice chat. In his mind, if he hadn’t pushed up the lane so far, his Thresh wouldn’t have gone for an aggressive ward high up in the river. His Support would’ve survived.

KG’s Support shook his head. “No, man. This was all on me. I was stupid. Should’ve never gone that deep without vision.”

The Midlaner from KG looked at his bot lane duo and then nodded. “I also fucked up. I should’ve seen that gank in mid lane coming from a mile away. That won’t happen again. I’ll be more careful.”

KG’s Jungler chuckled. “We done fucked up these last few minutes. How about we pretend they never happened? Roundy is still winning. Let’s take it from there!”

They were the words Tian Tian wanted to say. He just didn’t know he wanted to say them until he heard his Jungler say them. They lifted up the mood in the chat. There was no blaming each other, the de facto reaction of week 1, as the players from KG instead came together as a team. This game wasn’t lost. They knew that. Now it was time to prove that!

“You’re right. We can do this. Let’s do this!” 
“We’re still in this. Focus and no more slip ups! We got this, guys!” 
“Let’s focus more on vision. We can’t fall for any more of those Sejuani ganks.”

Tian Tian stared at his teammates, speechless. The Jungler had gotten the reaction he wanted to see, but even then he didn’t expect it to be this easy. The scenes of last week were still fresh in his mind. Everyone had it out for each other. There was zero working together. Yet, right now, they were all eager to work as a team. It didn’t make any sense. He didn’t understand it.

“Hey! Roundy! Wake up, man! Get your ass out of the fountain!” Konjac said. Then he turned to his Toplaner and smiled. “Let’s do this.”

“O-oh, right!” Tian Tian blurted out. “S-sorry.” He quickly bought items at the fountain shop and then had his Riven walk back towards top lane.

KG’s Jungler grinned. “You still got that lead. That’s our best bet. I’ll come top in a minute for a gank. Try and set it up for me. Let’s see if I can help you snowball some more!”

The Support from KG nodded. “Mhm. We just need to get Roundy fed. We can still win this.”

Konjac patted his Support on the shoulder. “That’s what I like to hear! Yes! We got this, guys! Let’s give it our all and try not to fuck up again!”

“No more fuck ups!” 

“Right! No more stupid mistakes! And we’re a team, let’s play like one!” 

“That’s the spirit! For KG!” 

“M-mhm, yeah!”

The mood in KG’s voice chat was infectious. Even Tian Tian joined the cheers of his teammates. He didn’t sit back, separating himself from the rest, but he joined in as part of the team. And the team stood up for him. They had his back. A determination that’d seemed lost was recovered. They were the pride of the LPL! The only all Chinese team! They wouldn’t give up because of a few minor setbacks! They were far too strong for that! Even against an Emperor team, they wouldn’t shy away. They would go into battle with their weapons drawn!

This was the real KG! This was the team he’d joined! Tian Tian felt a fresh new energy course through his veins. It burned away the shadows casting a darkness over his mind. He stopped worrying about the what ifs. He pushed back the negativity that had tied him down. There was a win against an Emperor team right before them! He was leading the charge! His teammates had his back! This was how it was supposed to be. The superstar of KG wasn’t alone anymore.

Winter >>>> Summer?

Sietse Thought: We live in a really cool time where we can talk with people from all across the world. This creates for some really special moments. Especially right now, with the weather going back to winter. Now, I realize a lot of people love winter. They love the cold and they love the rain. I am not one of those people. When I was younger, I always biked to school, regardless of the weather. One day, when the weather was around freezing point, it was raining and hailing. There were large pools of water on the road. On my way back home. I got a freezing shower by a truck who thought it was funny to drive through a puddle. It crashed over me like a wave. I’m not kidding, the water splashed up higher than I was tall. For the next, 30 minutes, I was freezing and life was miserable. Ever since, I’ve not been a fan of cold weather. So, these days, whenever the cold gets too much for me, I message one of my friends on the other side of the world and I ask them about the weather where they live. Like this, just for a moment, I can pretend I’m there. Enjoy the warm weather. In other words, I’m missing summer 🙁

Shanks Thought: I don’t think Sietse understands why people love winter. It’s certainly not the cold, and it’s not the rain either. There’s just something cozy and comforting about sitting warm in your room and looking out the window to a world of white. I think the only downside is how many times I fall flat on my ass slipping on ice when winter does roll around. It is coming, but we have to get through Autumn first. And Halloween. It’s sad how much Halloween has fallen off in recent years. You used to see so many houses putting up decorations and handing out candy. Nowadays, most neighbourhoods can’t even be bothered. What happened to the Halloween spirit? And more importantly, the hot sexy nurses and witches? I blame all these conventions popping up everywhere. They’ve ruined it for us all. Dressing up isn’t special anymore. You can have your anime waifus and busty superheroines. But nothing beats the classics!

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